Priorities change when you become a family man or woman, and these shifts are likely to impact the choices you make when picking your daily driver.
Most enthusiasts assume that becoming a parent means replacing high-performance transportation with choices that are more sedate and family-friendly, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are cars available that deliver the safety features and roominess you need for family duty, along with visceral, enthusiast-friendly handling.
Below are three used cars that offer thrilling performance as well as amenities that are tailor-made for family travel. We’ve excluded luxury models from this list – we’ll save those for another article. All our picks are affordably priced on the used-car market, so you won’t have pay through the nose to enjoy exciting times behind the wheel.
1. 2014-2016 Chevrolet SS
The Chevrolet SS is the best muscle car you’ve probably never heard of. While it doesn’t have the long history and name recognition of models like the Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro, this full-size sedan has the goods to provide memorable driving dynamics.
Much of the credit for this goes to the SS sedan’s 6.2-liter V8, which kicks out a stellar 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A standard sport-tuned suspension and Brembo brakes are also on hand to add high-performance spice to the driving experience.
With two spacious rows of seating and trunk that provides 16.4 cubic feet of capacity, the SS is roomy enough for Little League practice and family vacations. An adaptive suspension offers three settings, allowing you to opt for ride quality that’s more forgiving when the family is on board.
Best of all, the SS comes standard with the driver-assistive technology you need to keep your loved ones safe on the road. All models are equipped with features such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and an automatic parking system.
2. 2015-2016 Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger provides exhilarating performance in a perfectly livable package. Base models come with a 3.3-liter V6 good for 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter V8 offering 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque is also available. An athletic 6.4-liter V8 that doles out 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque is also offered, while Charger Hellcat trims offer an amazing 707 horsepower. Performance upgrades like Brembo brakes and a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers are available to help you make the most of all that power.
In those moments when you’re not thrashing rubber on blacktop, you’ll find the Charger to be a considerate family hauler. The sedan offers two rows of accommodating seating and a 16.5-cubic-foot trunk. Standard amenities include dual-zone air conditioning and Bluetooth phone and streaming audio.
This generation of the Dodge Charger earned a perfect five-star overall rating for crash protection in tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The current generation of the Dodge Charger was launched in 2011. However, Dodge added a raft of available driver-assistive safety features in 2015. These include blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation.
3. 2013-2016 Ford Taurus SHO
The Ford Taurus is a full-size sedan that’s known for its generous dimensions and comfortable cabin. The SHO trim brings high-performance driving dynamics to the mix, inflating the sedan’s athleticism by adding a muscular twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. This power plant generates a robust 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The Taurus SHO is also equipped with 20-inch wheels, all-wheel drive, a rear spoiler and a sport-tuned suspension.
Ford’s Taurus SHO offers the roominess you need when commuting with family on board. There’s ample legroom in both rows, and the trunk offers a whopping 20.1 cubic feet of capacity. Available active safety features include frontal collision warning, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and an automatic parking system.
Ford rolled out the current generation of the Taurus in 2010. Sedans that are model-year 2013 and newer received a perfect five stars for overall crash protection in NHTSA tests, so we’d recommend choosing from this pool if you’re shopping for used Taurus SHO.